Common Foods Causing An Allergic Or Sensitive Reaction
Often, a reaction to food results from overexposure to an ingredient. If your dog is reacting to an ingredient in their food, theres a good chance its the protein in their diet thats problematic. And its not just meat thats under scrutiny some veggies contain protein, so theyre not automatically safe.
The top offenders are commonly found in dog food:
Beef Fish Chicken Eggs
While dogs can be allergic to plant-sourced ingredients like corn, wheat, soy, and grains, theyre actually less common allergens than many people believe. So, simply switching to a grain-free dog food wont likley cure their symptoms.
First Off Chat With Your Vet About The Best Diet For Itchy Dogs
Any time that youre considering a diet change for your pooch, your vet is going to be a great resource. Chances are, your pup isnt the first scratchy Saluki to walk through their doors, and they may be able to recommend solutions that have worked for their other patients.
Wise advice aside, your vet will help you monitor your dogs health as you try out different diet options. So, make sure to check in with them when youre thinking of making changes.
How To Identify Dog Food Allergy Symptoms
Just like people, dogs can develop allergies to foods at any time even after years of eating a certain type of food. Some of the symptoms that your dog might have developed an intolerance to a certain type of food or an allergy, and might be a candidate for a dog food for allergies or another type of special diet, include:
- Gastrointestinal upset
- Bacterial, fungal or yeast infections
- Intense itching and scratching that can cause red, irritated-looking skin
In fact, reactions caused by food allergies account for approximately 10% to 15% of all allergic skin disease in dogs and cats.1
Usually allergies emerge when dogs are between one and three years of age, but this is not a strict rule. While all breeds, including mixed breed dogs, can develop allergies, certain breeds are predisposed to developing them. These include:2
- Chinese Shar-Pei
Most often, the cause of an allergy isnt some exotic dietary element. Its usually a common protein source, such as beef and dairy. But any dog food ingredient could trigger an adverse reaction.
If your dog might need a food for dogs with allergies, your veterinarian might set up a diet elimination trial, the first step in determining whether a food ingredient might be triggering the adverse reaction. These trials usually last between eight and 12 weeks and involve a recommended diet plan for your dog, which you must follow carefully, and feed exclusively.
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What Is My Dog Allergic To
If your dog has a food allergy, youll most likely notice skin irritation and gastrointestinal discomfort. Proteins from ingredients like chicken, dairy, wheat, and beef can trigger an allergic reaction in dogs. You can try out an elimination diet to determine which ingredient is causing allergic reactions.
The best dog food for skin allergies has high omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, which help promote healthy skin and a lustrous coat.
The most common allergy-inducing ingredients in dog food include:
How Do I Know If My Dog Is Allergic To His Food
Food allergies and sensitivities can have many symptoms but often manifest as itchy skin. Environmental allergens can cause these same skin symptoms. Dogs with food allergies commonly have environmental allergies as well. Without treatment, these symptoms can become more severe over time.
Food allergy symptoms include:
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Nutritional Deficiencies In A Dog With Itchy Skin
Your dogs diet can cause chronic itching if its lacking in key nutrients. Deficiencies in zinc, copper, and omega-3 fatty acids, for example, can affect skin health.
Nutritional deficiencies are usually caused by poor-quality dog food. While switching to a nutritionally complete and balanced diet is the best long-term solution, supplementation can also solve the problem.
Medical conditions that cause malabsorption in the gut can also lead to nutritional deficiencies.
Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Sensitive Support
Image courtesy Nutro
The Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Sensitive Support Skin & Stomach Recipe is a high-quality best dog food for itchy skin, grain-free food that is perfect for dogs with sensitive skin.
This formula is made with real lamb as the first ingredient and also includes peas, potatoes, canola oil, flaxseed meal, and more. It is free of artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives.
The Nutro Limited Ingredient Diet Sensitive Support Skin & Stomach Recipe is a great option for dogs with itchy skin as it contains omega fatty acids
Choosing The Best Dog Food For Skin Allergies
Are you looking for the best dog itching remedies or dog skin allergies treatment? If so, you may want to consider changing your dogs diet as there may be specially formulated recipes that can help or at least minimize your dogs skin allergy symptoms.
If your pet is dealing with skin issues, some of the best dog food for dry, itchy skin often is a fish-based dog food for allergies. Fish protein naturally contains a good amount of omega fatty acids that work to help maintain your dogs healthy skin and a shiny coat. Often, a dog food with a balanced ratio of Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids and a fish protein like Ocean Fusion will help clear up a lot of skin issues. Ocean Fusion is made with Pacific Whiting meal and is a tasty whole grain formula for adult dogs.
Hypoallergenic dog food, limited ingredient dog food and sensitive skin dog food provide less possible irritants in your dogs diet and can be helpful in improving skin allergy symptoms.
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Salmon & Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food
Natural Balance Limited Ingredient Diets Salmon & Brown Rice Formula Dry Dog Food comprises a simple recipe that can cater to every type of dog.
Whether your dog is a lazy doer or an active type, it doesn’t matterthis product can conquer them all!
Its main ingredients include salmon, menhaden fish meal, brown rice, brewers rice, and rice bran. This unique formula fuel’s your pal’s energy for their day-to-day activities and exercises.
Aside from these ingredients, it also contains oatmeal, sunflower oil, flaxseed, dried yeast, and green tea extract.
- It contains grain ingredients .
- Dogs who are picky eaters will love this.
- Salmon provides your pet with plenty of essential amino acids for leaner muscles.
- It’s only available for adult dogs, not puppies.
- It contains several controversial ingredients, which are canola oil and brewer’s yeast.
- Some pet owners insist that yeast can increase the development of a condition called bloat or Gastric dilatation and volvulus .
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Try A Low Allergy Diet
Switching your dog to a different food brand often isnt enough to relieve an allergic reaction. Allergies are caused by a specific ingredient in the food, which may be present in another brand.
Instead, youll need to switch to a limited ingredient food, preferably using a protein that your dog hasnt eaten in the past. Raw diets are a great example of a limited ingredient, low allergen diet. You can select a diet with minimal processing and few but nutrient-dense ingredients.
If your dogs scratching doesnt improve on a low allergy diet, he may be allergic to something in his environment. An allergy test can sometimes help determine whats causing the problem, but limiting exposure to allergens like smoke, perfumes and air fresheners may provide some relief.
What Are The Symptoms Of Food Allergies In Dogs
The most common symptom of food allergies in dogs is itching. Most often, the itching is on the paws, face, ears, belly and under the tail. Secondary infections with bacteria and yeast are also very common in these areas and can worsen the itch from allergies.
These symptoms can start at any age, no matter if the pet has eaten the same food or lots of different food throughout their life. The most common age for food allergies to develop is less than one year old, but it can start at any age.
Other common clinical signs of food allergies include:
- Vomiting and diarrhea in up to 20% of food allergic dogs
- Increased frequency of bowel movements
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Fleas Are The Usual Culprit To Dogs Having Itchy Skin
A flea allergy is the most common reason why dogs scratch and it affects them in two ways. The first is flea saliva which causes a reaction with the skin and the second is the fleas movements on your dogs coat.
One of the first possible signs of compulsive biting and scratching is red spots on the skin that have developed from constant biting, rubbing, licking and scratching at that particular area. This condition is known as acute moist dermatitis. These spots are commonly found on the head, hips or chest even though they can occur anywhere on the body. If ignored, these spots grow large and cause unbelievable discomfort for your dog.
After seeing your dog scratching like crazy, you probably assumed that he has fleas and bought a solution to remedy the problem. Fleas are very common and you know that getting rid of them is a fairly easy solution. After you treat your dog, house and yard for fleas, you notice that your dog is still scratching.
When To Expect Results
Just as people want to see pounds lost on the scale the second day of a diet, when it comes to the best dog food for itchy skin, we often want immediate results after making a change in diet or adding a supplement. Veterinarians cited as little as a few days up to several months, depending on your dogs condition.
If there is an underlying food allergy, then response can take up to 12 weeks in some cases, with 8 weeks being more common, Dr. Delaney says. If the skin issue is solely related to poor skin or coat quality due to a diet that isnt meeting a pets specific needs for an essential nutrient like a fatty acid, improvement may be noticed in as early as several weeks.
Hopefully, this information serves as food for thought when it comes to giving your furry friend some relief. It might just result in the only scratching is you scratching his belly or behind his ears.
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Fleas Or Food Which Is The Foe
While either cause is painful, a trip to the vet is the first step in determining whether your dogs itching and scratching is caused by fleas or food.
Both can lead to self-trauma and infection, says Sean J. Delaney, DVM, MS, DACVN, Board Certified Veterinary Nutritionist from the American College of Veterinary Nutrition. The veterinarian will then treat any infection as well as address the root cause that led to the infection.
Doug Knueven, DVM, a holistic veterinarian, starts with the whats most likely approach.
Flea allergy is the most common skin allergy, Dr. Knueven says. If an animal has fleas and is itching, I consider it a flea allergy until proven otherwise. The best way to rule out a food allergy is to switch the dog to a novel diet for eight weeks. If the skin clears, then he was allergic to something in the previous diet.
Your dog can also be tested to pinpoint any allergens. W. Jean Dodds, DVM, describes the two types: Serum-based environmental allergy screening and saliva-based food-sensitivity testing.
Tell us: What is the best dog food for itchy skin? What helped your dog stop itching?
Thumbnail: Photography by cmannphoto/istock.
Most Common Dog Food Allergens
“Meat, dairy, and eggs are often thought to be the most common dog food allergens,” says Shmalberg. “Yet generally, it’s the protein part of those foods that tend to be problematic, rather than, say, the meat itself.” Keep in mind, veggies can contain protein, so they’re not automatically safe.
That same review BMC Veterinary Research identified some of the most frequently reported dog food allergens involved in adverse food reactions. Here’s a look, from most-reported to least-reported.
Top Dog Food Allergens
|Dog Food Allergen|
Shmalberg calls out two important caveats to keep in mind here.
More facts about dog food allergens that are helpful to know:
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Dogsee Chew Hard Bars:
These hard bars are made from cow or yak cheese from the Himalayas and are handcrafted using traditional methods. Unlike mass-manufactured brands, these hard bars are minimally processed so all the nutrients are intact.
They are great for your dog’s dental hygiene – they work to keep the plaque and tartar buildup at bay which is especially great if youre unable to brush your dog’s teeth frequently. Their turmeric hard bars have strong antioxidants that support your dog’s joint, dental, and immune health.
If I Treat My Dogs Food Allergies Will It Treat The Skin Allergies Too
The best treatment for dogs with food allergies is to identify the offending foods and remove them from the diet. A small number of dogs will be able to resume eating those allergenic foods after several months of elimination. Dogs who are allergic to just one meat source may find immediate success in a diet change. However, dogs with several food allergies may require a more advanced diet strategy to diagnose and successfully treat their symptoms.
Work with your veterinarian to ensure that your dogs skin allergy symptoms are not caused by other factors such as parasites, environmental allergies, stress or other diseases. Adding a veterinary dermatologist to your veterinary team can expand your pets treatment options. You can find a dermatologist near you.
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How To Manage Your Sensitive Pups Diet
Simple. Identify the foods your dog is allergic to and eliminate them from their diet. There are a few ways to control the ingredients in their diet whether going through a dog food delivery service, running to the store, or whipping it up yourself.
1. Make them a homemade diet.
If you decide to go the homemade route and create your own fresh dog food, its essential to make sure your recipe has the correct balance of protein, calories, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals. Its complex and should be formulated by a pet nutritionist.
2. Purchase food from the pet store.
This can be a little challenging, and there are a few things to watch out for when searching for the best dog food for your pup.
First, its important to carefully review the ingredients and look for the real protein source. Often, the main protein is something like chicken if you see the word flavor. Chances are the main protein in Lamb Flavor and Rice is something other than lamb. You may inadvertently feed your pup something they react to.
Also, if the label lists natural flavoring as an ingredient, its usually made from pork or chicken. Its generally just a small percentage of the recipe, and mainly included to make it taste yummy for Fido. Call the company to ask what animal the flavor was made from some highly allergic dogs cannot even have small amounts of the protein they are allergic to, and flavor could set off a reaction.
3. Purchase food specifically formulated for your dog.
Taste Of The Wild Prey Angus Beef Limited Ingredient Dog Food
Compared to the other dog brands mentioned above, Taste of the Wild Prey Angus Beef Limited Ingredient Dog Food contains pasture-raised high-quality Angus beef as their primary ingredient.
Fortified with probiotics, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, omega fatty acids, and DHA, Taste of the Wild Prey also claims that its product contains a quality source of protein and carbohydrates because of their secondary ingredient called lentils.
Aside from these ingredients, this dog food also contains sunflower oil for digestion, dicalcium phosphate for dietary calcium production, and salmon fish oils rich in EPA and DHA.
The product uses pure beef without the meal, which may help them build lean muscles due to its 30% protein content. It is also GMO-free, which makes them completely organic.
However, its only issue is tomato pomace, controversially known as a filler for dog food.
- It’s grain and GMO-free, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives added.
- Angus beef is a protein-rich ingredient, which can build leaner and stronger muscles.
- Its balanced but straightforward ingredients help your dogs manage and promote healthy skin and coats.
- It’s only available for older dogs, not puppies.
- It contains tomato pomade, a controversial ingredient.
- Compared to the products mentioned above, the Taste of the Wild Prey only includes three dry dog ingredients.
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Wipe Your Dogs Paws And Belly After A Walk
A quick way to reduce irritation from environmental allergens is to wipe your dogs paws and belly before going inside.
This wont remove all allergens but reduces the amount that enters your home. It can also stop your dog spreading allergens across his skin by scratching.
Alternatively, dog boots and raincoats can prevent allergens from coming into contact with the skin. Some dogs dont enjoy wearing these, however, so you may need to use positive reinforcement training to get your pet to accept clothing.